Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chefs Gallery, Sydney CBD

Been keeping busy catching up with friends this past week. Last night was no different where we hit up Mizuya's happy hour (3pm-7pm) for some pre-dinner drinks before eating (:

Clockwise from back right: Hanabi (usually $13.00), Toblerone (usually $11.00), Sex on the beach (usually $13.00), $10.00 during Happy Hour
Mm, the Toblerone was really good - but definitely the ugliest out of the three! Just goes to prove that we shouldn't judge anything by how it looks. We scooped at it with spoons :P Bailey's definitely hits the spot. Though the honey at the bottom hardened because of how cold the drink was... The Hanabi was a good combination of sweet and slightly tart with vodka, peach liquor, blue curacao, peach syrup, apple juice and lemon juice. Sex on the beach was pretty standard - a mix of vodka, peach liquor, orange juice and cranberry juice. It was then time to leave for our dinner at Chef's Gallery.

Prawn and pork wonton noodles in a Shanghainese style spicy sauce, $13.50
I love the texture of the noodles at Chef's Gallery because they make them fresh every day. The texture is pretty amazing. The wontons were definitely be one of the best I've had out. The skin wasn't made of the usual egg and flour mixture, but instead was of the translucent rice kind. The prawn and pork innards were deliciously seasoned too. Loved the spicy sauce which gave the dish a light kick.

Shredded Peking duck with cucumber an hoisin sauce rolled inside a fluffy Chinese roti, $15.90
Had some pretty high expectations for the Peking duck roti because I love Peking duck and I love roti so I definitely was expecting something spectacular if they were modernising the traditional Peking duck pancakes. I was not disappointed! The hoisin sauce was spot on and was loving the duck rolled in the roti.

New Macanese style mini burger, $13.90
Aren't these mini burgers the cutest? The bun itself was deep-fried to a gorgeous golden brown and was so incredibly crispy... It did ooze a fair bit of oil when bitten into - definitely not good for my arteries but who can complain when it tasted so good? A small slice of pork, sprinkling of pork floss, and topped with lettuce and mayo, hardly anything could go wrong with this combination!

Tears of joy, $12.50
We ended the night at Adriano Zumbo. I think I come here too often... But I was lured in by his Tears of Joy cake which was only available for a limited time of 2 weeks or until sold out!! So yep, bought it. Ate it. Was super delicious... Cake got slightly smushed when I swung my bag around...

Look at all those intense layers! Encased inside the white glaze and chantilly caramel, there is coconut kalamansi creme, tempered chocolate disk, coffee brulee, raspberry gel, hazelnut dacquoise, more coconut kalamansi creme, and more tempered chocolate disk, salted toffee, hazelnut lime feuilletine and hazel dacquoise with white choc backing. So many!!

I think I ought to frequent Zumbo's less often...

Chefs Gallery on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snag Stand, Westfield Sydney, CBD

Sweet post summer school celebrations! Went out with a couple of friends to see "Wreck-It Ralph" today. Yes, I know it is a child's movie and yes, it has been showing for a few months already so it's pretty old. But despite that, the cinemas were pretty full which was quite surprising! I also enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The plot was actually very creative and it's quite different from what has been coming out in cinemas recently. A very nice change.

We also decided to grab hot dogs afterwards from the Snag Stand in Westfield Sydney. Who can say no to hot dogs and cheese? :D

Toulouse, $9.90
How could I resist truffle aioli? I thought the sauteed onions and toasted brioche added a sweet element which contrasted with the rosemary mushrooms and salty pork sausage. I did find the sausage to be quite salty nearing the end though... But it wasn't too high in sodium and I definitely enjoyed it! Though I think the entire hot dog would be a bit too much.

Spicy Spanish Chorizo, $9.90
This one was really good! I liked it even more than the Toulouse. With sun-dried tomatoes, chipotle mayo, baby rocket and shredded Spanish goat's cheese, what's not to like? Loved the slight spicy kick from the chorizo and chipotle mayo. That goat's cheese was also all sorts of cheesy amazingness and it definitely wasn't overpowering in flavour so that the chorizo flavour was lost. I think this was the pick out of the two!

Oh Westfield Sydney food court, you've yet to disappoint me! Can always count on you for tasty lunches (:

Snag Stand
188 Pitt St
Level 5 Westfield Sydney
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Opening Hours
Sunday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Monday-Wednesday: 10:00am - 6:30pm
Thursday: 10:00am - 9:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 10:00am - 8:00pm

Snag Stand on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Shanghai, Ashfield

Sunday family fun day! I think I wormed the idea of pan-fried buns into each member of my family's heads after I continually stated how much I really, really wanted them the other day. Next minute, we found ourselves at our local newly renovated New Shanghai for lunch on Sunday. Business there is doing well, and we had to wait in line for around 15 minutes before we were seated.

Stir-fried Chinese rice cake with shredded pork and vegetable in XO sauce, $10.80
I grew up eating rice cake, and I absolutely love how there's a bite to them. The XO sauce was delicious and this definitely ended up being one of our favourites.

Deep-fried calamari coated with salted duck yolk, $18.80
If there's one thing I love, it's salted duck yolk. I know a lot of people aren't fan of the duck yolks that are in moon cakes, but I find them so tasty! So when I saw this on the menu, I knew I had to order it. The salted duck yolk definitely added richness to what already was a rich dish. Tasty but I think this dish is best shared because of its heaviness ;)

Shanghai spring roll, $6.80
On the quest to find Sydney's best spring rolls. Alas, these were not meant to be. They were ok, but I don't think they have anything on the ones from Kwok Do in Burwood!

Deep-fried pastry filled with white shredded radish, dried shrimp & shallot, $8.80
I think we went a bit overboard with the deep-fried dishes... But my sister has an obsession with these so it had to be done! I'm normally impartial to these radish dimsims, but even I have to admit New Shanghai does them pretty well!

New Shanghai pan-fried pork buns, $8.80
This what what I was waiting for! But I think due to the rush that is lunch hour, the bottoms of these buns were nowhere near as caramelised as I would have normally liked :( Which was quite the disappointment. I've had them before at the Chatswood branch and they were great so I think we just got a bad batch!

Pan-fried pork dumpling, $8.00
These dumplings however, had a beautiful crunchy bottom! And they skin was thin, yet not thin enough so that they would crack and all the soup would leak out. You are no pan-fried bun, but you dumplings will have to do for today.

Mini pork wonton soup (short soup), $4.80
With all the greasiness that came with the dishes we ordered, my parents decided we needed some soup to help break through all that oil. Definitely loved the soup! Though do I really want to know how much sodium is in it? Probably not!

New Shanghai
273 Liverpool Rd
Ashfield, NSW, 2131

Opening Hours
Open daily from 10:00am - 10:00pm

New Shanghai on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eats lately via iPhone

Sorry I've been MIA for a while! I'm currently doing Chinese at summer school and boy is it intense. So many characters to learn and so little time. Not to mention getting the tone and pronunciation right... But it doesn't mean I haven't been eating :P

Burnt butter gelato, $6.00
With all the hot weather going on lately, gelato has been a must! This burnt butter one reminded me much of salted butter caramel.. Mm, so good.

Check out the mountainous claw of gelato! The perks of bumping into a friend who works there :P

N2 Extreme Gelato
43-1 Dixon St
Haymarket, NSW, 2000

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Happy birthday cake, $9.00
As with all of Adriano Zumbo's cakes, this one was incredibly rich. How could it not be with a flourless chocolate biscuit, chocolate sabayon mousse, chocolate brownie, milk chocolate chantilly and passionfruit glaze? Definitely delicious though! But I think my heart lies with the V8 ;)

From L to R: candy cane, johnny walker, citrus, salted butter caramel, & salted butter popcorn, $2.50 each
Wasn't the biggest fan of the candy cane, Johnny Walker or citrus (which had gone soggy) but salted butter caramel and salted butter popcorn have always been favourites of mine at Zumbo!

Adriano Zumbo Pattisier
80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont, NSW, 2009

Adriano Zumbo P√Ętissier on Urbanspoon

Clockwise from top: coconut, maple, & fruit salad fairy floss
I bought these on a deal website for $5.00 (I think?) each with $10.00 shipping. It definitely is interesting trying new flavours, especially gourmet, artisan fairy floss! If anyone is interested, Spun Fairy Floss has stores around Sydney.

Iced tea and scone with jam & cream
I finally made a trip to the Tea Cosy with a few of my high school girls to catch up. And my, this apple and cinnamon scone was absolutely delicious! So fluffy and with the home made jam plus cream, I fell in love with scones all over again. Must visit this place again!

The Tea Cosy
33 George St
The Rocks, NSW, 2000

The Tea Cosy on Urbanspoon

San churros signature classic Spanish hot chocolate, $5.95
This was a different experience having a hot chocolate this thick! I really did love it, but nearing the end of the cup I was finding it a bit too thick and a bit too sweet. Great in smaller doses though! And maybe not after a huge meal, like I had...

Choclateria San Churros
2-10 Darling Dr,
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Choclateria San Churro - Harbourside on Urbanspoon

Khao nieaw sangkaya, $4.00
Sticky rice steamed with coconut cream and palm sugar accompanied with a steamed coconut custard? Yes, please!

Chat Thai
20 Campbell St
Haymarket, NSW, 2000

Chat Thai Haymarket on Urbanspoon

Volcano sushi
Couldn't resist snapping a photo of this extremely pretty volcano sushi dish we managed to nab on a sushi train. So much cream cheese!

Kz's Sushi Experience
59 Burwood Rd
Burwood, NSW, 2134

Kz's Sushi on Urbanspoon

Grilled lamb salad, $22.90
This salad really did win my heart. It was amazing of all sorts! There were so many elements yet they all seemed to work together. The sweetness from the pumpkin and beetroot, cous cous for texture, baby spinach for our daily dose of greens (and iron!), walnuts for crunch, lamb for protein and a delicious mint and coriander dressing. Too good.

Blackbird Cafe
Harbour St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Blackbird Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ippudo, Westfield Sydney, CBD

Westfield Sydney has opened yet another world-renowned restaurant and this time, it features delicious ramen that is best eaten by slurping. The lines that would snake around just outside were rumoured to be at least 40 minutes long when they first opened. Never having anything like that deter me, I went at times when people would normally not eat - at 11 and 5. Of course we were instantly seated :D

Pork buns, $4.00 each
Who could say no to these cute buns? They were gloriously good. Soft, fluffy, pillowy bun with a soy-braised pork belly with lettuce for crunch and a squeeze of kewpie mayo for good measure. I could order myself multiple of these until I fill up all my stomach space with just these! They do look like the Momofuku ones but I haven't tried them so I can't compare. It will be on my list of go-to's!

Ippudo chashu gohan, $5.50
Underneath the mountain of seaweed was little pieces of simmered pork belly where some of the sauce has gone through to the rice at the very bottom. The soft meat was tender and the fat just melted in the mouth... Delicious! My only complaint would be that there definitely wasn't enough pork belly ;)

Karaka men chashu, $21.00
I was expecting more flavour from the tonkotsu broth in this ramen but the spicy miso definitely overtook the flavour of the broth in this particular ramen. It would be very nice if I was in the mood for that particular spicy flavour though!

Akamaru shinaji, $16.00
The pick of the two ramen dishes was this one. The tonkotsu broth was enhanced with miso paste and garlic oil, creating a rich broth that definitely hit the spot. I loved the addition of black mushroom and shallots. The noodles were thin and were cooked with just enough bite. I was sad there was only one slice of pork belly! It definitely was a good slice though ;)

If I'm craving a good ramen, I know where I can get it now (:

Ippudo Sydney
Level 5 Westfield Sydney
188 Pitt St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Opening Hours
Open daily from 11:00am - 11:00pm

Ippudo on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chat Thai, Westfield Sydney, CBD

I think I have a bit of an obsession with coconut. Which is why I have such an intense love for Thai food! There's just something about coconuts which seem to scream holidaying in a tropical paradise. Chat Thai always seems to be one of my go-to restaurants because the food is always nice. And the desserts there are to die for! But before we skip to all things sweet, we do have to get some proper food into our bellies (:

L to R: coconut milk with silky pandan dumplings, $4.50 ; fresh homemade coconut juice, $5.00
Drinks to start off with. I definitely fell in love with both these drinks for different reasons. The coconut milk drink contained pandan dumplings and jackfruit pieces which were beautifully the sweet. The drink itself was really like a liquid dessert. The young coconut juice contained pieces of coconut and was very refreshing.

Fresh spring rolls with smoked fish sausage, chicken and crab with caramelised taramind relish, $12.00
These were like healthier versions of spring rolls where the same outer skin was used but they weren't deep fried! Obviously, the flavour profile was also different with the fish sausage dominating the more subdued flavour of chicken and crab.

Green papaya salad with peanuts and dried shrimps, $11.50
Whoever can say no to spicy salads? I love the sweet, sour and spicy elements that shine through in this one salad. I almost always order this when eating out because I seem to have trouble balancing the three flavours myself at home! What a shame. Anyone have any tips? I love the saltiness that the dried shrimp provide to give this dish just that little bit extra. This salad is best eaten with sticky rice to take away the heat!

Padt si-ew, $12.50
Loved the smokiness the wok provided for these noodles. Definitely on the sweeter side, but I enjoyed it nonetheless (: The greens make you feel like you're eating something relatively healthy ;)

Crying tiger, $12.50
I was expecting something that would be crazy spicy and leave your entire mouth tingling and burning from this dish. That's what you would expect when you call a dish "crying tiger"! Though this was a far cry from the spiciness I was expecting and it was definitely mild. The beef was quite chewy and hard to eat so this wasn't one of my favourites.

Fried green curried prawn mousseline, $14.00
These were interesting enough. Had a texture reminiscent to fish cake that you buy from Chinese supermarkets. The taste didn't stand out for me though.

Coconut jelly, $3.50
This coconut jelly is amazing! Not like your usual supermarket jelly. It's not bouncy and harder in texture. There were pieces of fresh coconut hidden inside that just made it that more delicious.

Clockwise from top left: tup tim grob, $6.50 ; khanom busing, $2.50 ; pandan sticky rice and mango, $6.50
The tup tim grob had tapioca coated chestnuts that had a slight bite on the outside which gave way to a small crunchy chestunt piece. The soup was quite aromatic with jasmine and coconut, and was quite sweet. Which is where the ice came in to break the sweetness up!

I was curious about the khanom busing because of the meringue filling which was topped with threads of candied egg yolk and candied herbs and shrimps, encased by a thin, sweet wafer. I was interested to see how the sweet and salty would work together. I guess I could definitely see how people could like this dessert, but I don't think I'm used to it quite yet! Dried shrimp tends to be very strong in flavour after all.

We specially asked for a mix of pandan sticky rice and normal sticky rice for this dessert. I love how fragrant the pandan sticky rice was! I think they were pretty heady with the jasmine as well which I have no complaints about because I love jasmine. Coconut cream, fresh juicy mango that is sweet, and sticky rice. Absolutely nothing wrong with this flavour combination and everything right!

Coconut ice-cream, $6.90
So many textures in this one dish! We have the chewiness of the pandan sticky rice, the sweet and savoury crunch from the palm seeds and peanuts, and the smooth creaminess of the coconut ice-cream. The coconut ice-cream was sweet and not at all icy, and definitely did not skimp out on the flavour. I hate it when ice-creams at restaurants are on the icy and bland side. Luckily it was not the case here! I think I have found a favourite out of all the desserts :P

My friends and I left clutching our bellies after this feasting. There were only five of us girls after all. How did we manage to devour all this food? I guess we were misguided about the capacity of our stomachs ;)

Chat Thai
Level 6 Westfield Sydney, 188 Pitt St Mall
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Opening Hours
Monday-Sunday: 10:00am - 12:00midnight

Chat Thai Westfield Sydney on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mad Spuds Cafe, Surry Hills

Hands up if you love potatoes. Baked, deep-fried, skins, skin-less, seasoned, with sauce... The list goes on! I don't think that I could possibly hate potatoes being cooked in any possible way. They really are a wonderful carb! And the question is, who doesn't love potatoes?

This is what lead us to our decision to meet up at Mad Spuds Cafe in Surry Hills to drill our friend about her exchange in Europe! What an exciting trip - living overseas for almost half a year! We all definitely missed her and it was so nice seeing her back in Sydney again.

We arrived just before noon and there were lines everywhere coming out of almost every surrounding cafe! Though the line moved quickly enough and we were seated in about 10 minutes. Perfect.

It was such a hot day so we were glad to be seated outside in the shade where there was a nice breeze and juices were a definite order to cool us down after the walk from Central station.

Juices, $4.00 each
I was really hoping for the juices to be freshly squeezed but they came already pre-packaged. The pick of the three was the pineapple and mint. The mango and peach just tasted like mango, and the blood orange just tasted like orange juice, which was a shame because I absolutely love blood orange and I was looking forward to that big blood orange kick!

Chorizo brioche sanger, $16.00
Mm, chorizo is always a winner. The hallouimi cheese, blanched spinach and chorizo paired perfectly with the drunken apple relish on the side which provided the slider with a sweet note. I loved the sweet potato crisps that were garnished in all of our dishes - they were wonderfully crunchy!

Egg in a spud, $14.00
Twice cooked potato skins are amazing! This one was served with two varieties. One had a soft yolk boiled egg encased within the crunchy potato skin and was topped with melted gruyere cheese - look at how melty it is! The other had a tomato relish and quinoa sitting within the potato skin. On their own it was nice, but eaten together really completes the dish.

Corn crusted chicken salad, $15.00
This salad was refreshing on this hot day. I loved the sweet potato puree which worked surprising well with every other element on the dish. There was beetroot, roasted onion, avocado, potatoes topped with a sweet chilli and lemon dressing. If the chicken had more flavour, this would've been a mad salad.

Ginger brulee tart, $5.00
For dessert, we swung by Bourke Street Bakery where I grabbed a ginger brulee tart to share with T. I wasn't sure whether I would like it because I'm not particularly always a fan of ginger flavoured desserts and am quite picky about when I actually like the flavour of ginger but this tart was a definite surprise! I found that I really enjoyed the ginger within the smooth, cool custard filling hidden underneath a wonderfully sugary brulee top. The crust was very short, crumbly and oh so buttery. Delicious.

Of course, for the rest of the day, we hid inside shopping centres to talk and avoid the heat that was outside. Gotta love the strong air-conditioning they use!

So how do you all like your potatoes cooked?

Mad Spuds Cafe
479 Crown St
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010

Opening Hours
Tuesday - Sunday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Mad Spuds Cafe on Urbanspoon

Bourke St Bakery
633 Bourke St
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 7:00am - 6:00pm
Saturday - Sunday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Bourke Street Bakery on Urbanspoon